Strangers cross paths

The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE - MICHAEL O’SUL­LI­VAN

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE DIREC­TOR: Drew Goddard CAST: Jeff Bridges, Cyn­thia Erivo, Dakota John­son, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pull­man, Chris Hemsworth RUN­NING TIME: 141 min CLAS­SI­FI­CA­TION: 16 D L V RAT­ING: ★★★✩✩

THE set-up of Bad Times at the El Royale sounds fa­mil­iar, even cliché: seven strangers, each with a skele­ton in the cup­board, find them­selves thrown to­gether at a ho­tel that has seen bet­ter days, and that it­self hides a se­cret – one that is re­vealed in the short, wham-bam pro­logue that sets the stage for this 1969-set film, which is part noirish hy­brid of mys­tery and black com­edy.

The name of its writer and direc­tor, Drew Goddard, may not mean any­thing to some.

But any­one who has seen Goddard’s only pre­vi­ous film, the meta-hor­ror movie The Cabin in the Woods or who knows his work as a writer on such projects as Lost, Buffy the Vam­pire Slayer and the Os­car-nom­i­nated adap­ta­tion of The Mar­tian will know to ex­pect the un­ex­pected.

Not all of its sur­prises are pleas­ant ones, but there is a cer­tain sat­is­fac­tion in ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a yarn that is so ob­sti­nately unan­tic­i­pat­able.

Set in the tit­u­lar ho­tel, a Lake Ta­hoe-area lodge that strad­dles the Ne­vada-Cal­i­for­nia line, the ac­tion takes place on a night when the front-desk clerk of the god­for­saken inn (Lewis Pull­man) is over­whelmed by a scram­ble for rooms.

It’s ter­ri­bly en­ter­tain­ing. | The

Wash­ing­ton Post African News Agency (ANA)

A scene from the movie Bad Times At The El Royale with its un­ex­pected sur­prises.

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